Tribal Leader Chhotu Vasava Files Papers as Independent from Jhagadia; Father-son Fight in Offing

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Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) founder Chhotu Vasava on Monday filed his nomination as an independent candidate from the Jhagadia Assembly seat in Bharuch district of Gujarat, pitting himself against his son Mahesh in the constituency if there is no last minute withdrawal.

Chhotu Vasava, who has represented the Scheduled Tribes (ST)-reserved seat in the Assembly for seven consecutive terms, filed his nomination as an independent and sounded confident of his victory in the December 1 election.

BTP national president Mahesh Vasava, the son of Chhotu Vasava, is the party’s official candidate in Jhagadia.

Speaking about his move, the senior Vasava said he has to fight the polls as there is nobody else to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Asked about his son being a candidate from the seat, the veteran tribal leader said, “Members of a family can contest from four places (seats)…the BJP is not going to win, neither in the country nor in Gujarat. I am totally hopeful of victory.” Chhotu Vasava’s personal secretary Abbalal Jadhav told media persons the senior legislator filed his nomination form as an independent candidate, putting an end to speculation whether or not he will contest from the seat.

“Chhotu Vasava has said he will continue to fight for the rights of tribals until his last breath, whether it is through polls or on social media. Nobody can snatch Jhagadia seat from Chhotu Vasava. Vasava’s supporters held a meeting at his residence where it was decided he will contest the election,” Jadhav said.

Jadhav added such disputes, like the one between a father and son, were not unusual in politics, adding that it (tussle) will be short-lived and a solution will be arrived at very soon.

Meanwhile, BTP president Mahesh Vasava said he has also filed his nomination from Jhagadia. He had won from the Dediapada constituency in Narmada district in the 2017 Assembly polls.

The father-son duo was the only two winners from the party in 2017.

“I have filed my nomination as the BTP candidate. As the national president of the BTP, I can say we will win many seats. There will be no clear majority in the upcoming election. People are aware. The fight is against unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic and GST,” Mahesh Vasava said.

Queried about being pitted against his father, he said everybody has right to file nomination forms.

On November 9, the BTP had announced Mahesh Vasava’s candidature from Jhagadia.

Bahadursinh Vasava is the BTP candidate from the Dediapada seat this time.

In the 2017 elections, the BTP, which has pockets of influence in tribal-dominated areas of the state, had won two out of three seats it had contested in an alliance with the opposition Congress. Senior Vasava won from Jhagadia and his son from Dediapada.

Incidentally, the father-son duo had abstained from voting in the June 2020 Rajya Sabha election and later announced breaking of ties with the Congress in panchayat bodies in Narmada and Bharuch districts.

In May this year, Chhotu Vasava had entered into an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party and held a joint rally in Bharuch with AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

However, the BTP later pulled out of it alliance with the AAP.

Out of the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat, 89 will go to polls on December 1 in the first phase. The last day of withdrawal of candidature for the first phase polling is November 17.

The second phase of polling on December 5 will cover the remaining 93 Assembly seats.

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